With its new designation as a Certified Local Government (CLG) able to promote historical preservation within the city, the Avon Lakeʼs Historical Preservation Commission is now reviewing two locations as Avon Lake landmarks: Lake Shore Cemetery (also known as Avon Lake Cemetery) and the Peter Miller House. The properties are both city owned and located on the north side of Lake Road.
The process of becoming a CLG was spearheaded by Avon Lake Councilman David Kos, in response to concerns of his constituents regarding the historical preservation of Avon Lake.
On May 24, the was awarded a certificate that essentially allows the Commission to survey historical properties, identify and inventory local landmarks and historic districts and advise the city regarding the protection of these cultural and historical sites.
An ordinance passed in 2010 states city of Avon Lake can designate certain areas—and homes more than 50 years old—as historic districts and landmarks. The law could allow these areas to enjoy Ohio historical tax credits, but could also prohibit major changes to the exterior of homes once they are designated as historic.
"The Commission is planning to consider Lake Shore Cemetery (also known as Avon Lake Cemetery) as the first of three city's historic properties in the near future, with the Peter Miller House Museum to follow shortly thereafter,” John Shondel, the Commission’s chairman, said. “The Folger Home at is expected to be considered after their current restoration has been completed. This would complete chapter one of hopefully a large volume of Avon Lake Historic Landmarks.”
Kos said having a landmark designation has benefits, including protecting the city’s history.
“One advantage that the cemetery and the other public buildings will have post-designation is the ability to apply for state grants for upkeep and rehabilitation,” he said. “The city will also be able to apply for state and federal tax credits for any such rehab work done on the properties.
“However, the most important thing that designating these properties will do is forever protect our history and our heritage. It is the hope that with the designation of landmarks and historical districts there will be an increase in local tourism and community pride. This can have not only a positive economic impact on the city but also preserve Avon Lake's past for our future.”
Councilman would like to see plaque in place by 2012
Although a time line for the designation is not set, Kos and Shondel hope the process for the cemetery is complete later this year for a 2012 ceremony .
“Because the cemetery is the first location that will be declared a landmark, I am unsure of how long the process will take,” Kos said. “ There is much research already done on the cemetery so providing justification for its designation should be easy. However, the Commission will move very deliberately because this designation will act as a learning tool for future landmarks. I would expect the paper work to be submitted from the Commission to Planning Commission sometime late summer. I would expect the legislation to appear before City Council sometime later this year.”
A ceremony marking the site is almost a certainty. City Council will first need to designate the cemetery as a landmark by legislation.
“The mayor would most likely hold a ceremony at the unveiling of a plaque/marker at the cemetery,” Kos said. “This will most likely be done in 2012 to coincide with the 200 anniversary of the area's settlement.”
Shondel said certifying the cemetery and Peter Miller House Home as landmarks will be easier since they are owned by the city of Avon Lake and considerable research on the properties has already taken place.
The Peter Miller House, built in 1830, is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The house, located in Miller Road Park, received an Ohio Historical Marker on July 4, 2010. The cemetery has gravestones dating back to 1816.
“It should make the process a little less complicated,” Shondel said. “We already have the desire of the city of Avon Lake to create Historic Landmarks by passing the enabled Ordinance in 2010. The consent and desire of the owner of the property for it to be a historic landmark is always the first step in the designation process."
ALHPC will also publicize, educate and assist owners of landmark and historical properties as well as the general public on the National Register application process.